Pain Free Summer Vacation

family going to the beachSummer is in full swing, which means it’s time to hit the roads or airways for that annual summer vacation.

Studies have shown that traveling is good for your health. Travel can lower your risk of heart disease, has been linked to greater overall happiness, better learning, better relationships, and can improve your outlook on life. So, book that trip now.

While vacation as a whole can improve health, sometimes getting there can hurt. Long hours in a car or airplane can leave you stressed, tired, stiff and sore. Following these tips from the American Chiropractic Association will help you focus on the joy of vacation, rather than the pain.

Treat travel as an athletic event. Warm up before settling into a car or plane, and cool down once you reach your destination. Take a brisk walk to stretch your hamstring and calf muscles.

In an Airplane

  • Stand up straight and feel the normal “S” curve of your spine. Then use rolled-up pillows or blankets to maintain that curve when you sit. Tuck a pillow behind your back and just above the beltline and put another pillow across the gap between your neck and the headrest.
  • While seated, change your position occasionally to improve circulation and avoid leg cramps. Massage legs and calves. Bring your legs in, and move your knees up and down.
  • Do not sit directly under the air controls. A draft can increase tension in neck and shoulder muscles.

Travel by Car

  • Sit as close to the steering wheel as comfortably possible, with knees slightly higher than your hips.
  • Using a back support may reduce the incidence of low-back strain and pain.
  • Exercise your legs while driving to reduce the risk of any swelling, fatigue or discomfort. Open your toes as wide as you can, and count to 10. Count to five while you tighten your calf muscles, then your thigh muscles, then your gluteal muscles. Roll your shoulders forward and back, while keeping your hands on the steering wheel and your eyes on the road.
  • Loosen and tighten your grip on the steering wheel to improve hand circulation and decrease muscle fatigue in the arms, wrists and hands.
  • Take rest breaks to avoid fatigue.

Following these simple tips will help you enjoy a pain free, safe vacation. If you do experience pain from travel, be sure to come and see me when you get back to Columbus.